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Portfolio and Exit Exam for Majors

Graduation Requirements for Philosophy Majors


Effective fall 2008, the undergraduate catalog includes the portfolio and exit interview as requirements for graduating with a B.A. Major in Philosophy. 


I. The Portfolio

A. Collect material throughout each semester.

During the course of your major in philosophy, you will be developing a file or portfolio of your work to show your progress as a philosophy major. All of your work is relevant, as this portfolio is not primarily intended to showcase your best work. It should document the stages of your education in philosophy. The main office (PSY 110) will maintain a file for each philosophy major, and students should add copies of their work throughout each semester. Include:

  • Papers
  • Quizzes
  • Notes
  • Examinations
  • Diary entries
  • Comments on your work by professors or classmates
  • Your own progress reports as you pursue your major
  • Material from courses outside philosophy which show your philosophical progress
  • A list of all philosophy courses and grades earned

B. Organize & annotate at the beginning of final semester

Show how the contents demonstrate you have achieved the objectives stated in 1-5 below. For example, if one of your papers, or a passage in a paper, is an example of your independent thinking, write independent thinking or IT on the paper or near the passage. The philosophy faculty is available to assist you.

  1. Understanding of the history of philosophy. (HP)  An understanding of the history of philosophy includes knowing the seminal figures, their major doctrines and their methodologies.
  2. Proficiency in philosophical investigation (PI).   A proficiency in philosophical investigation includes the ability to interpret texts, explain theories, and identify relevant arguments.
  3. Proficiency in critical thinking (CT).  A proficiency in critical thinking includes the ability to ask relevant questions, examine different sides of an issue, and recognize and evaluate arguments.
  4. Proficiency in independent thinking (IT), including the ability to develop and defend original positions.
  5. Proficiency in writing (W), specifically, stating and defending a clear and substantive thesis.


C. Evaluate your portfolio by mid-semester of final semester.

Write an essay to include in your portfolio which summarizes and evaluates your philosophical development or progress in the five areas above. Offer specific examples of your progress.  Also, in preparation for your Exit Interview, address these matters in your essay:

  • Why you majored in philosophy and its connection with your studies and your future
  • Themes or issues you consider significant and how you might investigate them further
  • Most significant and favorite readings
  • Most difficult readings and any how you dealt with them
  • How your work as a philosophy major affected your beliefs and practices

The Philosophy Faculty will review the portfolios to determine whether students have met program expectations and certify candidates for the Exit Interview. Any deficiencies in a portfolio must be addressed no later than one week before the Exit Interview.

II. The Senior (Exit) Interview

The Department conducts a Senior Interview for graduating seniors. The candidates discuss with the faculty their portfolios and their experience as philosophy majors. The Senior Interview is held each semester on the last Thursday of classes at 3:30 p.m. in the Dialogue Room. Students graduating during the summer may participate in the Exit Interview of their last spring semester.

Questions about Portfolio and Exit Exams?

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